Josiah Nikolao

Central Washington University signee Josiah Nikolao during his recruiting trip at CWU.

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Nobody had a day like Josiah Nikolao on National Signing Day.

On Wednesday morning, he was a Husky.

And by the end of the afternoon, he was a Wildcat.

So, the question is, how?

Nikolao is a 6-foot-2, 300-pound nose tackle out of Bellarmine Prep. The two-star recruit by 247 Sports recently committed to the University of Washington just two weekends ago as a preferred walk-on.

But when he put pen to paper on Wednesday, the decision never felt right and he carried an uneasy feeling throughout the day.

“My heart was always with UW but I recently lost my mother and in a couple of days it’ll be her two-year anniversary,” Nikolao said. “And during the day I felt like she was telling me to reconsider.”

So, he called his family to inform them he was going to switch schools and then reached out to Central Washington University’s recruiting coordinator Leon La Deaux and said he changed his mind and wanted to be a Wildcat.

Nikolao felt CWU was not only the best fit financially, but the type of atmosphere Central exudes was something he wanted to be part of.

“The family atmosphere, it’s all about the love up there and just their mentality on and off the field,” he said.

And CWU couldn’t be more ecstatic to add that caliber of player to its defensive line group, a position head coach Chris Fisk emphasized in this year’s recruiting class after last season’s struggles stopping the run.

Nikolao surely can help in the coming years with his length and size.

“Really, really excited about him out of Bellarmine,” Fisk said. “He is a state powerlifting champion. He’s huge, and he’s got some personality. And I think he’s going to have a major impact in our football program really quickly.”

Nikolao had a preferred walk-on offer at the University of Oregon as well. Along with CWU, he had scholarship offers from Western Oregon University, Simon Fraser University and Pacific Lutheran University.

He was teammates with CWU quarterback Christian Moore at Bellarmine Prep for one season and Nikolao spoke highly of Moore during his recruiting trip.

“To this day he still treats me as a brother,” Nikolao said. “He took me in on my trip and he really helped me a lot.”

The Polynesian community at CWU was appealing to Nikolao and already had developed a relationship with freshman linebacker Sekai Asoau who’s from the Tacoma area.

“I fell in love with the Poly community at Central,” Nikolao said. “People I didn’t even know were welcoming me. Even the Poly students from other sports were talking to me. It’s always a blessing to be part of that.”

Luke Olson: lolson@kvnews.com; on Twitter: @lukeolsonb.

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